Sunday, April 24, 2016

What I've Learned in the Last Three Years

Good morning. It's Sunday, and I'm back. So far April has been a crazy month, and the next two look to be even wilder, but very fulfilling.

Three years ago, Fire Angel, my first novel was released, allowing me to tick off one of the boxes on my bucket list. What an amzing experience, one I'll never have again, although seeing the book in print a few months later was quite a thrill, too. To be honest, I do get those butterfly tickles with each new release, followed by the fear the books won't sell and everyone will hate them. I'm not exactly oozing with self-confidence.

So, what have I learned since publishing my first book? Many things I didn't expect to learn--some satisfying, other disappointing, but life is all about learning and growing, at all ages in all ways.

  1. New authors rarely make a lot of money:
First, few publishers pay advances. Secondly, few publishers put books in brick and mortar stores. Unless you hit on some unique niche, the chances are you aren't going to land a contract with the big four or five. A new author, without a name and a reputation, isn't going to make a lot of money. Royalties from paperback and e-book sales are low, and the only way to make money from them is to sell thousands of copies which new authors rarely do. If you have a publisher, they get the lion's share of the money because they shoulder the upfront costs like editing and covers, but if you self-publish, then you have those costs although you do get bigger roaylties, but it takes selling a lot of books to cover that expense.

2. All Publishers ARE NOT REPUTABLE:

This is a lesson I learned the hard way, being scammed by not one but two publishers. The first one, Front Porch Romance, seemed legit at first, but then payments stopped coming, lies and excuses were made, and in the end, she absconded with all of the money, leaving myself and several other new authors who trusted her, high and dry. The second publisher, Entranced, didn't hurt me as much since the book was in the pre-publication stage when she shut the doors, but she shafted a lot of my good friends out of money due them. I lost a third publisher, but that woman showed class and did everything she could to pay the authors and the rest of her staff. We've remained friends, and I wish her well.

3. Reviews Drive Books Bur Readers Don't Always Review:

It's one of those vicious circles. To get exposure for a book, you need lots of reviews, but even though you may give away 100 copies of the book, you'll be lucky to get five reviews out of it. Why? Because most readers simply don't bother writing reviews. To be honest, until I became an author, I didn't review either, but now, I try to. One thing I won't do is slam another authors work. If I read the whole book then there had to be something about it I liked, and I focus on that.

3. Reviewers Can Be Trolls:

For some reason, which I can't for the life of me understand, some people get off trying to ruin authors. That's right. They post reviews demeaning not only the book, but the author. This happens a lot on sites like Goodreads, but also on Amazon. When you read the reviews, you wonder if they even read the book--in csome cases they haven't since the reviews go live before the ARCS are sent out and the book goes live.

4. A Strong Social Media Presence is Essential:

And I am woefully lacking in that department. I'm not a social person, and if I don't like to socialize in person, you have to understand socializing on line isn't a whole lot easier. Spending hours on Facebook and Twitter is hard for me. I try, I really do, but ... What I have managed to do is create a good, solid base of blog followers both here and at
Thanks to my son, I also have a top notch, regularly maintained, and somewhat interactive webpage. But how much posting is too much? And what to post? My private life is just that, so...

5. The More You Write, the Better You Get At It:

This sin't rocket science. If you have to practice to be the best in spoorts, then you need to do the same in writing. The more you write, the more you learn about your craft. Editors and Beta readers help you focus on your weak spots and improve them, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO LEARN AND MAKE CHANGES, and for many of us, that is by far the hardest part.

6. You Have to take Risks:

For me, I've been afraid to take any new risks. I don't handle rejection well--make that not at all--so I've avoided submitting to new publishers. I'm lucky. I have three publishers who like my work, and while I'm not making any serious money, I'm getting out there. This year I decided I would strike out at least once and try to find a new place to publish my work. I decided to try Kindle Press, the publishing arm of Amazon.

Hello Again, my newest book, a paranormal/suspense/romance based on a Sioux myth, is involved in a KIndle Scout campaign. With only 8 days to go, my winning a contract doesn't look promising, but I'm hoping the people who've nominated it so far will consider reading something else of mine.  You can help with the campaign by going to:

So, those are the truths I've come away with so far. Writing is all consuming. You need to really want to do this to succeed. The biggest thrill I have right now is having someone contact me and say. "Wow! I love your books." That's what Ineed to hear get to work on the next one. Who knows, that one might be the one that makes it all worthwhile.

Have a great week!

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